RPOWER POS - 2022 Restaurant Trends

2022 Restaurant Trends

2022 Restaurant Trends

A few years ago, if you had told someone that in 2020, everyone would be working from home, avoiding social contact, and eating their favorite restaurants’ entree on their couch, you’d get laughed at. While we’re now somewhat used to the current state of affairs, the pandemic brought major changes to a number of industries, many of which have become the new normal.

Over the course of all the ups and downs in the past two years, the restaurant industry underwent some major shifts – customers’ preferences changed, operations became more lean, and businesses sought out multiple revenue streams to stay flexible. As the new year unfolds, many restaurateurs are wondering what to expect, and how they can leverage these changes to increase sales and get ahead of their competition.

If you fit that description, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up a list of the top 2022 restaurant trends to help you identify some new opportunities for the new year.

Higher prices

It’s no secret that the majority of restaurant businesses have suffered over the past two years. Between dining room closures, hesitancy to eat out, supply chain issues, labor shortages and more, restaurant owners have had it tough. Having to close your doors, pay more for ingredients and wages, and cover PPE costs out of pocket all eat into your bottom line.

Many restaurants are raising their prices to reflect the cost increases they’ve faced over the past couple years, and we don’t blame them. After all, every operation needs to turn a profit, and if you can’t cut costs, your only option is to raise prices. On the plus side, many customers have no problem paying more. They’ve spent months at home and unable to eat at their favorite restaurants, and they want to support local businesses. 

Ghost kitchens

With the rise of takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery orders, and the reduction of in-person dining (at least temporarily), ghost kitchens are popping up everywhere, and you wouldn’t even know it. Ghost kitchens are food service operations that are often set up in rented spaces – sometimes even in restaurants that are looking to make some additional income on days they’re closed. Think of them as restaurants without the dining part. These operations sell food directly through delivery apps, drive throughs, or curbside pickup locations, allowing them to drastically cut down overhead costs and increase profits.

Labor saving tech

Due to a number of factors, the labor market is crazy right now, and hiring is harder than ever. In fact, according to a study on the "Global State of the Hospitality Industry", 41% of US restaurants report that they’re understaffed, and 87% of operators, owners or managers say that technology adoption has been essential for their business throughout the pandemic.

Smart POS systems, countertop customer-facing displays, online ordering, and kiosk point of sale systems are becoming a lot more common as businesses try to reduce manual labor and stay afloat with fewer staff. While still in their early stages, some businesses are experimenting with technology like voice-based AI at the drive through and robots that can make coffee or smoothies. Only time will tell what sort of innovations the hospitality industry will see in 2022.

Simpler menus

Back in the day, it was almost a competition to have the biggest menu possible. And we understand why – more options means a better chance of customers finding something they like. But with the cost of food going up, supply chain issues, and an overall desire for a faster ordering experience, many restaurants are trimming their menus down significantly. 

Plant-based alternatives

With rising food prices, the growing concern about sustainability, and supply chain issues affecting suppliers and grocery stores across the country, many customers are trying out plant-based alternatives. Vegan food is rapidly becoming more popular, and even people who mainly eat meat are getting on board. If you want to delight your customers, cut back on costs, and make a positive impact on the environment, try adding some plant-based options to your menu.

Final thoughts

The restaurant industry is always changing, but the last two years have been especially volatile. As the new year unfolds, new trends in the industry are beginning to emerge as restaurants aim to meet customers’ shifting preferences. If you’re looking to get ahead of the curve, don’t be shy about raising your prices, trying out alternative business models or revenue streams, leveraging new technology, trimming down your menu, or giving plant-based food a try.


Have any questions? We are happy to help!